BOSTON -- Brandon Workman had just made what was arguably his best start in a month, yet he found himself summonsed to manager John Farrell's office after the game.
The 25-year-old righty was told he would be optioned to Triple A Pawtucket in order to clear a roster spot for pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, who will start for the Red Sox against the White Sox on Wednesday.
"Definitely it's not ideal," Workman said. "It's not what I was hoping to hear after the game. But it's part of it. I just gotta keep getting my work in, keep getting better, and get ready to go again."
Workman pitched seven solid innings in Boston's 8-3 loss to Chicago, allowing three earned runs and eight hits while striking out five. The seven innings pitched tied a career-high.
Though he allowed five runs in all -- two came unearned thanks to a Mike Napoli error in the second inning -- Farrell explained that he was encouraged by what he saw from his young starter.
"I thought," Farrell said, "you've gotta look beneath the line score on Workman tonight." The manager added that other than one mistake, Workman was good for "seven solid innings."
Workman's one big misstep came in the sixth inning when he allowed a leadoff single to Jose Abreu, and then with two outs left a cutter over the middle of the plate that third baseman Conor Gillaspie put into the right field seats for a two-run homer.
That shot wiped away the work the Red Sox offense had done in the bottom of the fifth inning when it scored three times to tie the game, 3-3.
"If I could take back one pitch, it'd be that one," Workman said. "We'd just gathered some momentum in the bottom half so it's definitely a situation you want to go out there and put up a big zero right there. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do that. That's one of the things I was talking about. Obviously there were pitches I needed to make that I didn't make tonight."
When Workman was removed from the game before taking the mound again in the eighth, he had thrown 106 pitches (70) for strikes. And though his team was still down 5-3, he was still able to identify some positive takeaways from the night.
The start had certainly been light years ahead of last week's when he allowed six earned runs in four innings to one of the worst lineups in baseball, the Chicago Cubs, in what eventually would be a 16-9 defeat.
"I thought it was a step in the right direction off of the last time," Workman said. "Obviously I can still be sharper. There's still pitches I needed to make that I didn't make, but I thought it was a step in the right direction coming off a rough one the other day."
Workman's next start could come at Toledo on Sunday for the PawSox. Though he may be discouraged by being optioned, there's a chance he's not actually missing a single big-league start.
With the way the Red Sox rotation is set up, Workman's next turn to pitch likely wouldn't come until after the All-Star break on July 18 against the Royals. In theory, he could make one start in Triple A and still be recalled in plenty of time -- and on regular rest -- to take the mound at Fenway 10 days after his Tuesday start against the White Sox.